Category Archives: spelthorne

Halloween Rockgoblin – 29th October 2011 – Hob, Staines

The Hallowe’en Rock Goblin Staines is now a firm fixture on the Staines social calendar – and a very highly anticipated event. Last year’s party was simply superb… so the 2011 Hallowe’en Rock Goblin had a lot to live up to.

With six incredible musical artists covering a night-full of spooky fun and magical events, the beautiful & intelligent people of Staines crowded into the Hobgoblin in their fineries. Costumes included spectral brides, ghoulish minnies, a throng of pirates and enough zombies, vampires and monsters to coagulate the blood and give permanent nightmares!  The fun-house was decorated in a suitably gothic fashion and the party started early and went on till well past the witching hour.

First up was ‘Ravi K’ with his solo (acoustic) ‘Timber-Tones’ set. His warm and passionate vocals and honeyed guitar work went down stunningly well with the Staines in-crowd. Kicking off with the fizzy ‘My Lonely Heart’ and featuring some reflective but none-the-less jaunty numbers like ‘For the Moment’ and ‘Talk of Tonight’ it was a highly accomplished and satisfying demo of how good the ‘Timber-Tones’ ought to be. We cannot wait for more!

‘Sian Sanderson’ is a soulful and bluesy singer/songwriter with an extraordinary voice, full of innuendo and silkily suffocating anguish. Songs like ‘Long Way Home’ are passionately personal- she counts Bill Withers & Otis Redding as influences- and you can hear the results with those tense vocals wrapped around relaxed tempos and gently rippling arrangements. Sian’s songs are tucked neatly into the smooth side of the genre and reminded me of the easy listening acts of the eighties.

Next up was Swindon band ‘Nudy Bronque’ with their lavish guitar based fireworks and their post punk Britpop aspirations. Flaming hot tunes like ‘I Don’t Want Your Problems’ were pumped out to the spirited Hobgoblin crowd. With searing guitar solos and piping hot percussion, this band made a statement of intent. Juicy, crisp and tight songs … a lot of punk attitude and a formidable style and flair is all part of the ‘Nudy Bronque’ experience. Ska-sounding beat-bound chirpy clap-clap tunes (like ‘Movement’) were bright, brisk and breezy- and brought  the Staines crowd to the boil with pin-point accuracy.

Those busy bees ‘Fear No Fish’ are already Hobgoblin stalwarts and firm favourites of the Staines music aficionados . This loveable rocking trio is the  ‘Ransome’ brothers (Chris on guitar and Mike on bass) with Rob Walker on drums. Their sound has been compared to The Who & The Jam. And it’s a constant wonder how so much rich sound can be created by such a small group.  With heaps of latent and seething drum-work, songs like ‘Stay’ with those magnificent vocals from Chris and Mike, complex plots and hauntingly beautiful compositions, are inspiring and illustrious  Or take the sturdy sounds of tunes like  ‘Paint By Numbers’ with those chunks of flying metallic guitar chords and the flourishes of percussion… numbers like these, with their grungy feel and wide-screen aspect, make you realise that ‘Fear No Fish’ are musical monsters in a pond full of tiddlers. Powerful and revelatory.

Reggae-pop outfit  ‘Tree. House. Fire.’ are also Hob regulars. These Guildford boys (dressed up as swarthy pirates)  fired up the dancing demons at the Hallowe’en ball with their imaginative ska-shaped sounds and their mashed up energetic show. Songs like ‘Suburban Gangster’ have enough pliant licorice flavoured rubbery beats to  keep heads rocking, knees bouncing and neighbours complaining,  deep into the night . And those irreverent lyrics with their ‘thumbs up’ vocals are playful enough to inspire raucous choruses, and to illicit frantic applause. Brilliant.

To complete a gigantic evening  we had the legendary Brighton party band ‘Floors And Walls’ giving us their amazing brew of melodic guitars and grimy vocals with those (almost) folky compositions. Pounding vibes and ‘Vincent Price’ vocals (by  Alex Adams ) seemed the perfect ending for a truly magnificent Hallowe’en feast.

A blissful night of rock sounds and invincible party-time antics. Bloody Fang-Tastic!

© Neil_Mach 28 October 2011

Links:

http://www.facebook.com/siansanderson

http://www.facebook.com/nudybronque

http://www.facebook.com/treehousefire

http://www.facebook.com/fearnofishuk

http://www.myspace.com/floorsandwalls

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Foley Artist – Live at Hobgoblin, Staines – Aug 18

The craftsmen know as foley artists try to create realistic ambient sound for movies … that’s why the horses in the movies always tend to clip-clop their hooves, even when  travelling on sand or grass… the foley artist has added the sound ‘after’ filming with a couple of coconuts.  Foley Artist is also the name of a rock band that I went to see on 18 AUG at the best music venue in Middlesex – the Hobgoblin, Staines.

Foley Artist create monster sounds on a magnitude totally exceeding your expectations. Instrumentally adept, their output seems jammed firmly betwixt hardcore and hard rock – little nuggets’ of tungsten embedded between two tectonic plates. A tough nut to crack, although I hope the band eventually breaks firmly into the classic hard rock seam. At this stage vocals can be a bit hit-and-miss, but you can forgive this slight aberration as you are blown away by the style and substance of the astonishing white-hot guitar magic. In fact, their sound brings to mind – ahem – Led Zeppelin (yes, really). Bluesy, smoky, blameless, armour-piercing rock and roll, blood and flames.

These swindlers played a short set at The Hob (due to feeling under the weather.)  But the band provided enough material to get a reasonable idea of the quality of their sounds. Tunes like ‘Shadow Boxing’ from the ‘Gorgeous Dog’ E.P demonstrate the innovative guitar trickery and licentious  percussion. ‘Brad Pitts Beard’ is ice cold and angular. Satisfying bass-play from man-mountain Olly Nunn creates a bed of chewy textures for the finely detailed fretwork and interwoven vocals. Songs like ‘Wheaties Box’ are heavy, headstrong and banging. Laced with streaks of silvery guitar and full of time juxtapositions, with tempo-changes aplenty.

Bold bass-play, excellent guitar instrumentation from frontman Matt Searle together with the percussive fireworks from James on drums, mean that Foley Artist are ones to watch as they negotiate up the rocky road. Good luck lads.

© Neil_Mach
August 2011

Links:

http://www.myspace.com/foleyartistmusic

http://foleyartist.bandcamp.com/

These Are Teeth – live at Hogboblin Staines 04 August

Thursday was the first time I had seen local hard rock act  “These Are Teeth” and I was delighted by their performance.

James Bickley – lead guitar – is a ‘Slash’ in the making. Mudpie, sloopy, syrupy chuckling licks slobber from his nimble fingers as they lazily slide and groan across loose strings. Those cowboy boots, lush mop (with the vilest of fringes), and  pavilion swivelling hips foretell that this lanky preacher-man (with Gee-tar instead of a bible) is already living  life as a  rock n roll adventurer. Here’s one to watch.

Scott Freeman (vocals & guitar) is a solidly built Jethro looking shoveler, helmsman and chug. He is the fulcrum and activator of the band and plays rhythm guitar so furious that he can bug-a-bug with the best of ’em from noon till dusk. His melodious voice – notes are struck with extreme precision – and the pitch is just right – sets the tone for a polished performance.

The band is completed by Robin Rathbone on drums, a rattle snake man and firecracking omnipresent thwacker; And the shuffling and vibrating ching-master, the ever reliable Tom Ridler on progressively played bass.

They play classic rock tracks filled with grunge and gutsy harmonics – punk rock undertones yet prog-rock aspirations

Faultless manoeuvres crafted from rods of iron and as dark as the soot and ashes that surround them …. they played an astonishing set to the happy marauders at the Staines Hobgoblin mangling juddering substance with lyrical punctuation from that ever-peppery lead guitar. It was a full blown grenade launching fiery conquest of a set!

‘Rocket Motel’ has container loads of rattly chords and pile-driver percussion that evolves into a head-bangers delight. Groovy basslines from Tom and thundery chords establish the perfect landscape for the excellent chorus. On this number Scott (vocals) reminds me of Marilyn Manson at his lyrical best.

‘Embers’ sounds ‘Aerosmithy’ with plenty of bouncy rhythm guitar and thrilling lead guitar bursts from James -this song has a cabaret feel to it – as if it were to be played on stage with a velvet rope and a couple of pneumatic blondes writhing around the poles.

‘Move and Erase’ has a playful percussive element from Robin on drums and a far more punky style than the other These Are Teeth offerings. Razorsharp bursts of guitar light up the catchy chorus. This sounds reminiscent of something by ‘The Cure’ before a blast of flames from the lead guitar breaks things up and gets  things a-smouldering!

Oh, and thanks for “The Boys Are Back in Town” – always a barnstormer and crafted and played with precision and love.

Best jaw cracking, sharp, strong and pulverizing rock band that I have seen in a long while!

© Neil_Mach
August 2011

Links:

http://www.theseareteeth.com
http://www.twitter.com/theseareteeth
http://www.reverbnation.com/teethonline

Mortdelamer at Staines Hobgoblin – August 04

Finishing off a successful 9 date tour at the Hobgoblin, Staines (our favourite music venue) the Swindon based 3-piece prog-rockers “Mortdelamer”   played an amazingly invigorating and inspirational set to the happy throng. Claire (lead vocals and guitar) Joe (on bass guitar) and Sean (on drums) stormed through a set of thoroughly honed songs, properly aired and exhaustively rehearsed after days on the road.

‘Chasing Lights’ is a chiming buzz-saw wormery of textures and sub-texts. Dank themes crumble like biscuits around the molten guitars. Claire’s voice cuts through the chords and chains like acetic acid through cloth, before the number ascends into the loftiest of metal frameworks.

‘Choices’ is a gap-toothed fallen-angel of a song, distraught chords and edgy rhythms suggest a kind of corrupt architecture for Claire’s splendidly miserable vocals.

‘Mistakes’ grates like a rake dragged into a storm drain… but the kindly echoing vocal content, reminding me of Alannah Myles, lifts the song from it’s velvety sludge to a more glistening position above the shoreline.

‘Man With 2 Heads’ has a pronounced reggae beat and those other worldly vocals, before  liquid guitars leak and spill over the jaggedy moonscape. Disconcerting grinds and blinding wah-wahs add drama and potency to this outstanding track.

New song ‘Leech’ from the superb Leech E.P (I urge you to get it now) is a blues number that starts smoky in the background before becoming emblazoned with fire and ice as the composition moves on – cracking and fragmenting into explosions of pure emotion as the song reaches it’s heroic destiny.

If you like ‘Karnivool’ or ‘Skunk Anansie’ and you take your rock without sugar or cream and, preferably, bible-black, then this is definitely for you…

© Neil_Mach
August 2011

Links:

http://www.mortdelamer.co.uk
http://www.myspace.com/mortdelamer
http://mortdelamer.bandcamp.com/

Run Young Lovers – Live at The Hogboblin, Staines – July 2011

On Thursday I caught up with ‘Run Young Lovers’ at the Staines Town’s favourite music venue ‘The Hobgoblin’. This band plays a patina of indie rock sounds- hot cracking stuff. Choppy, peanut brittle sound bites of feel-good fun and happiness.

Born and raised in Crawley, this 5-piece band originally came to notice under the moniker ‘Us And Them’ and their toil gained them a worthy reputation on the West Sussex live music scene.

They now play a joyful Cure-sounding sing-along song-book of sounds. And the delighted Staines Hob crowd lapped ‘em up like double cream. Soulesque vocals from cuddly bannerman and front-voice Jack Betteridge add warmth and passion to the roistering helter-skelter zip-line indie rock revelry of the band’s output.

Songs like ‘She Said’ (available as a facebook download) with that typical bounce and zizz-a-zizz, and those streamers of guitar flapping in the wind around warm honey-cake vocals, added a real playtime fizz to their show.

Other songs, like ‘Moonshine’ have playful basslines from Ollie Small, and sudden blooms of effervescent guitar from James Ellis and Lloyd Stone. Driving patterns of percussion are delivered steadily by David Stewart on drums.

Introspection is a specialty of the shy singer Jack, surrounded on all sides by the bounteous multi-faceted guitars.  But no snopake is required… no corrections are needed. Bubbling rumbling, bumbling? Check. Soaring highs? Check. Painful lows? Check. It is all there in the ‘Run Young Lovers’ show.

This band takes you two stops beyond awesomeville, before leaving you, exhausted,  and on the last platform, whining for more.

© Neil_Mach
July 2011

Links:

http://www.myspace.com/runyounglovers

http://runyounglovers.tumblr.com
http://twitter.com/RunYoungLovers
http://www.facebook.com/runyounglovers
http://www.reverbnation.com/runyounglovers
http://soundcloud.com/runyounglovers
http://www.musicglue.com/runyounglovers
http://runyounglovers.fanbridge.com

UKID live at Hobgoblin, Staines

UKID – I like the name (could be “you kid” or the rotten U.K. ID cards ) is a rock band with a Rap Metal attitude and an impressive musical pedigree. Former ‘Durban Poison’ man KJ (bass) created  the band along  with MC Beanie (Ben-Jah Jon.) And, once the grimy drum n’ bass met the blistering metal in the forges from hell, the UKID sound was cast into iron. It’s like Rage Against the Machine crossed with Oceansize.

UKID bring us songs like “Dole” which is a shattered plate of sounds; A skillet of skanky beats whipped to a frenzy by metallic and thrashingly hypnotic guitars, thrown together with squeaks and beeps from the keyboards (Ben-Jah goes to the keys periodically.) The vocals are insistent and reliable – more calm than furious, the rhythms are always focussed and assured. The bass play is big and gruesome and brought to you in gigantic proportions by the hairy thumbster KJ.

Other songs have the kind of sound quality and size reminiscent of tunes from bands such as Kaiser Chiefs and even as far back as The Clash. Yet there is also plenty of drum ‘n’ bass, combined with hip hop, to get you back to todays date. The searing and screaming lead guitar from redheaded razzle-dazzler Glenn add frantic and fiery elements to the whole UKID package, making the band seem more progressive, and somehow more metallic,  than other bands in the same genre.

But it is fair to say that, at the Staines Hob gig, the music tendered by this immortal Glastonbury gang tended to veer from tantalizingly terrific and heart-racingly superb at times – right down to buzzy low-threshold monobloc tedium.  Which is a shame, because the nurtured talent was clearly available – just not in a consistent formula.  Naturally enough, the keen and krazy krowd at the Staines Hob lapped it all up (good and bad) and were dancing in the aisles and crazy to hear the tunes. But some of the numbers failed to hit their mark, often in quite a dramatic way. The main voice of Ben-jah was not nearly strong enough to be heard above the multiple layers of sound underneath. And the backing vocals from Glenn were often too loud – and, more often than not – quite alarmingly off-key.

But nonetheless, songs like “War = Money”  with it’s innovative and impressive flowergarden of experimentation and smoky acid vibes was like encountering Eminem whilst visiting a dream-like “Octopus’s Garden”  and finding out that he is actually in a political frame-of-mind. Freaky, fancy and fine. This song is like a saline drip of conscientiousness.

The best tune of the night was the techno industrial-strength dance number (second to last song of the set) that was a spaced-out labyrinthine journey into the spiralling and pulsating sub-conscious.  With melting guitar licks from Glenn, huge chunks of keys from Ben-Jah, hypnotic drums from Joey and deeply reverberating bass-play from KJ. I hoped that this tune would never stop!

Merging heavy rock with dance-sounds is not new, but UKID are so skilled and so fresh that the sounds actually do seem refreshingly vital.  Watch this band rise.

© Neil_Mach
March 2011

Link:

http://www.myspace.com/ukid
http://www.ukid.moonfruit.com

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Arthur Rigby & the Baskervylles Live at The Hobgoblin, Staines

On Saturday night we caught up with the Leeds based orchestral pop band Arthur Rigby & the Baskervylles,  at our fantastic local music venue – The Hobgoblin, Staines.

Ostensibly, this band is simply Ben Hatfield (vocals, guitar) and Alex Pinder (percussion and drums). But the duo employs everything from a six piece setup to a full-on symphony orchestra to add both depth and infinite flavour to their endlessly colourful productions. When I saw the troop at The Hob,  Neil Balfour was on keys adding  texture and classical motifs to the compositions, and Dan added to the beat with a bluesy-sounding bass. Additionally, there was violin from string quartet player Hannah Elizabeth Want and rambunctious trombone from scholar Tom I’Anson, both instruments creating a warmth and a special character to  the broader sounds, adding a rather splendid and luxurious element. These music college graduates have obviously resolved to tip over the apple-cart of the music establishment and add their own cultured and refined twist to the proceedings.

Sometimes leaning towards folk – and at other times rock – but always on the orchestral and mellow side of the tracks, we enjoyed tunes like ‘White Houses’ which starts with imploring bass-baritone lyrics set against a lush accompaniment of ponderously sad notes that plink out from the lonely keys like stained tears dribbling down mossy walls. Feathery imagery is provided by the soft trombone.

Or ‘One Stormy Night’ which exhibits the artistic intentions of the band’s arrangements with soft shimmering guitar echoing across a silvery landscape created by those lush orchestral manoeuvres. Supple lipped vocals accentuate the lyrics as the pace almost imperceptibly picks up and gradually, and evermore gradually, until the song becomes a rock piece, creatively clouded by the classical images that abound.

Arthur Rigby & the Baskervylles have clear electric folk aspirations and the ‘big hitter’ of the night at the Hob was the song ‘Follow’ with that jaunty pony-riding beat and feel good chorus sung in a round. The country fizzy-jig formula was magnified exuberantly by shining violin-play from Hannah and foot tapping percussion from Alex.

Other songs like  ‘Fly Far Away’ have pounding insistent beats and earthy textures whilst others, like ‘Stranger’ are moodier and complex set-pieces.

Bringing to mind Canadian folk rockers ‘Crash Test Dummies’ crossed with 2010 ‘Plastic Beach’ era ‘Gorillaz’ this band is set for stardom. I can easily see them on the world stage collecting themselves a  “Grammy”  in a couple of years time. It brings a tiny tear to my eye- as an ‘oldie’ – because I nostalgically think that Arthur Rigby & the Baskervylles are this year’s answer to that never-sufficiently-praised nor properly lauded English progressive rock band ‘Renaissance’ – albeit with a ‘Brad Roberts’ sounding lead vocalist instead  of the five-octave vocal range of Annie Haslam. But the same eloquence, attention to detail, poetry and classical aspirations are present in the musical treasure-box that Ben and Alex have on offer.

Mind changing, game altering stuff.

© Neil_Mach
February 2011

Link

http://www.myspace.com/arthurrigby

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